Basking Ridge, N.J. — Verizon Wireless launched its version of the $99 Palm Centro and plans to follow up with a Nokia-made “Bat Phone” and a trio of LG feature phones, including the carrier’s first consumer-oriented phone with all-touchscreen operation and no dialing or QWERTY keypad.
The Centro is Palm’s lowest-priced PDA phone to date, and it features CDMA 1x EV-DO high-speed data, touchscreen, hard QWERTY keyboard, and ability to be used as a wireless modem. With this price point, it’s intended to expand the smartphone market and entice people to step up from feature phones. Verizon’s $99 price is after $70 mail-in rebate with new two-year customer agreement.
The Verizon-network Centro is available June 13 through the carrier’s Web site and Verizon Wireless Communications Stores, including Verizon stores in Circuit City. Details of indirect-channel distribution were unavailable. Last October, Sprint Nextel began offering the device at $99 through direct and indirect channels.
The limited-edition Bat Phone is officially called the Nokia 6205 “The Dark Knight” edition, available June 15 at Verizon’s online store to precede the July 18 theatrical release of the same-named movie. The black flip phone features The Dark Knight emblem and is preloaded with Batman-themed wallpapers, voice tones, animated screensavers inspired by the film, and a full movie trailer. It’s priced at $69.99 after $50 on-line rebate and two-year contract.
Bat Phone features include touch-sensitive external music keys, over-the-air music downloading, 2-inch display that supports up to 262,000 colors, 1.3-megapixel camera with flash and 4x digital zoom, microSD memory-card slot, and Verizon’s VZ Navigator turn-by-turn driving-instruction service.
The 6205 without the Batman theme will be available in July on Verizon’s Web site and Communications Stores. Details of indirect-channel distribution were unavailable.
The trio of LG phones includes the touchscreen-equipped LG Dare, which will be the carrier’s first all-touch consumer phone “as long as you don’t count the LG Voyager, which you could use as an all-touch phone but has a QWERTY keyboard,” a spokeswoman said.
The Dare is due later this month and will be followed by two other LG models later in the summer. Those two are the third-generation Chocolate music phone, which trades in its predecessors’ slider operation for a flip, and the LG Decoy, touted as the world’s first phone with a detachable Bluetooth headset. All will be available through Verizon’s stores. Indirect-distribution details were unavailable.
The Dare multimedia phone uses a touchscreen to access Verizon’s VZ Navigator and V CAST multimedia services, features 3.2-megapixel s camera that automatically adapts to low or unevenly distributed light, and comes with a photo-editing tool to customize pictures and upload them to a social networking site directly from the phone. A graphical contact list lets users find the right number with a finger flick. Favorite contacts can be reached via a drag-and-drop photo interface. Additional details weren’t disclosed, but the device is due later in June.
The LG Decoy slider features glossy front, satin back and Bluetooth headset integrated into the design so that it slips into the back for charging when the phone is charging. The phone features five-way directional joystick for navigating through multimedia services. It will be priced at $179.99 after $50 mail-in rebate on June 16.
LG’s Chocolate 3 is a flip-style music phone with control wheel on the outside and an FM transmitter to play stored music through any stereo system. It features dual speakers, stereo Bluetooth, 1GB of embedded memory, and microSD slot to accept memory cards up to 8GB. Other features include 2-megapixel camera. It will be available in July.